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1 Introduction The image of Aphrodite depicted in literature and art is that of an irresistible seductress. 5 This aspect of Aphrodite, which seems to have been so present in real cultic life, is hardly reflected at all in mythological accounts. 6 The alleged paradox can be illuminated by an approach which tries to analyze the identity of Aphrodite from different perspectives, such as myth and its literary representation, cultic, and epigraphical evidence. 7 It is still true that our idea of the Olympian gods (their names, myths and provinces) is particularly shaped by the roles and functions given to them by the two poets who, according to a famous passage in Herodotus (2,53,2) gave the Greeks their gods: Hesiod and Homer.

Thus she had to be dissociated from military and matrimonial concerns, aspects with which Athena and Hera were chiefly associated. indb 30 4/25/07 10:38:24 AM Some Aspects of Mythmaking and Cults of Aphrodite 31 in epic tradition. 69 Some important aspects of Attic myth which seem to have determined the function of Aphrodite in Athens have been pointed out by R. Parker. He argues that Homer and Hesiod showed very little interest in Attic myth. One reason why Attic mythology can hardly compete with other regional mythologies is that its themes are mainly public and concerned with politics.

E. 110 The reasons why Aphrodite is shown with a mother in Iliad 5 (and only here in epic) have been debated. G. 111 Of course, he may have known the story. 114 Given that the Homeric poet was acquainted with the epic featuring Anu and Antu, it can be expected to have influenced his choice of Zeus’ and Dione’s parentship. That he could relate the Akkadian mythical couple to a cult reality in Greece where the God of Heaven and his female equivalent of the same name were venerated together, may have facilitated the borrowing, as well as the choice of Dione rather than, say, Hera.

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